Dan and I ventured to our nearest `big city` for a brilliant weekend of Asahi brewery beer touring, ramen eating, and gallery exploring.
Fukuoka is Japan`s sixth largest city and a mere hour and half away from ours on the bus. That may feel like an age in the well-connected UK city scene, but for us, it makes it closer than the little capital of our own prefecture. Fukuoka is home to the Asahi beer factory which brews for Kyushu, and we were lucky enough to take a tour of it!
The actual tour was limited in terms of seeing the factory floor. But we did learn that each year this one factory produces enough cans of beer to circle the globe over two times. That was pretty impressive. Its clear Japan loves beer. We also now know that one of the brewing vats would take one person over 3,000 years to drink if they had a can of beer a day. That was a challenge too big even for the Haymans.
The tour ended with three beer samples that were fresh as a daisy and mighty delicious! Although you are only given twenty minutes to consume your free samples, so you best get on it. We then moved to the nomi and tabi hodi areas of the factory (all you can eat and drink) for an evening of merriment, meeting new people, and some serious gut bloating.
The following day we woke with heads that were a little sore. After a few failed shopping attempts we decided to hit the ramen shop up. We hit it big time! It was so delicious, spicy, full of garlic, spring onion and egg-based delights, because it was made exactly to our preference. The ramen chain is called 一蘭 and we are delighted that there is one even closer to home that Fukuoka! You can chart exactly how you like your ramen and what you want more or less of. It was perfection and (almost) wiped the hangover! We will return. I am drooling just writing this.
Feeling happier and with caffeine in hand, we were accosted on the street by a lady whose English was better than mine. She invited us to an art gallery that was touring from Tokyo and spending its final day in Fukuoka. We are so happy this random little encounter happened as we got to explore some post-modern art in a great gallery space in the heart of a Japanese city. It’s the kind of thing movies have talked about! The art was unusual and beautiful, and the artists were willing to share their work and its meaning. The picture included here of the small circles incased in glass took one month to create and is made from hundreds of different dried petal leaves. Beautiful! The perfect stain-glass window in my eyes.
We returned home sleepy but happy, after another weekend in a country we love.